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How to Create Photos on Cups and Plates From Home

Updated April 11, 2017

Professional printing companies will print your photos on cups or plates for a fee. However, when you have multiple cups or plates the cost for this service adds up quickly. When creating photos on a number of cups or plates it is much less expensive to do it yourself at home. All that is required are a few supplies, a few days of your time and your creativity.

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  1. Place transfer paper in your printer. When purchasing, ensure that the transfer paper is suitable for ceramics and that it is activated with water. In addition, ensure that the transfer paper selected works with the type of printer that you own. Some transfer papers only work with specific types of printers, so read the package before you buy.

  2. Select the digital photo and print it onto the transfer paper. Print one photo for each cup or mug that you want to decorate.

  3. Cut the image out of the transfer paper with scissors, leaving about ¼ -inch around the edges.

  4. Saturate the transfer paper in a bowl of water for about 2-minutes.

  5. Remove the transfer paper from the water and slide the image off of the transfer paper backing.

  6. Place the image on the cup or plate, arranging it as desired. Then smooth the image onto the cup or plate with your fingers, being sure to smooth out the edges. If bubbles appear on the transfer, poke them carefully with a needle.

  7. Allow the transfer to dry on the cup or plate for 24-hours.

  8. Coat the cup or plate with varnish and a paintbrush, brushing over the photo image.

  9. Tip

    This type of transfer is for non-washable cups or plates only.

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Things You'll Need

  • Transfer paper
  • Printer
  • Scissors
  • Bowl
  • Cup
  • Plate
  • Needle
  • Varnish
  • Paintbrush

About the Author

Patrice Lesco has been a writer since 2001. Also a certified teacher, she writes for newspapers, magazines, books, theater and film. Lesco holds a Master of Fine Arts in theater from Michigan State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in education and theater from Methodist College.

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